Mental Health Awareness Week (18th – 24th May 2020)


Well, hello there. For those that don’t know, it’s
Mental Health Awareness Week (May 18th – 24th). I had meant to write and upload this earlier in the week but ironically, I was not in a good place mentally and couldn’t do it. We move.

I don’t want to share any advice or tell people what to do when you’re feeling down – I’m just bloody pleased we are able to have this conversation. The thing is, I didn’t tell anyone for years that I suffer with Chronic Anxiety, Depression and Body Dysmorphia (christ love, want anymore diagnoses!?). Not my friends, not my partner at the time – and I massively played my illness down for anyone that knew. 

I’m better now at sharing, but still don’t shout it from the rooftops – but why don’t I? Surely it would give literally everyone I know a better understanding of how I roll and the reasons behind why I go a bit AWOL sometimes, no?

Yes, it would. But I truly believe, although in recent years talking about our mental health has come on in leaps and bounds, we still need to be better at it.

A good example of this is that sometimes I feel super self-absorbed, and like I’m only ever thinking about myself. Some days I feel so, so anxious that it’s all I can do to get out of bed, force myself to wash, eat.

In those moments, feeling like I’d rather claw my own skin off than spend another second in my body, it’s hard to imagine that anyone else has ever, ever felt this bad in the history of time. How do you even ask the question? Hey buddy, you ever feel so low you want to smash every mirror in your house and eat the shards? This way of thinking was cemented when I was talking to a friend a few days ago who mentioned that she had recently been suffering with bad anxiety and panic attacks. I was gutted for her that she felt so low and we spoke about coping mechanisms and shared experiences. After our conversation, I was like…oh my god…other people are feeling down, too! Don’t make it all about yourself! You’re so inward-facing you can’t even tell when your friends are upset! Ah, the old reliable negative self-talk.

I vocalised this to Will that evening and he put a completely different spin on it for me (like he often does, the lovely soul). You’re not self-absorbed OR selfish, he said, you’ve isolated yourself into thinking it’s just you. It isn’t. Start the conversation and you may find so many others in the same hole as you – try to help each other to dig your way out.

One in four people will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. Unfortunately, mental health services are heavily, heavily over capacity and it can be very difficult to receive the help from counsellors or therapists, unless you have the financial means to pay for it. Often, people are discharged from the service without having received the best care

Personally, I have been on a waiting list for 1:1 specialised therapy for five months, with no indication of how long the wait will be. Of course, we need to acknowledge that NHS mental health professionals are incredible but are having to work in poorly managed conditions with heavy caseloads!

With services so underfunded and overstretched, we need to pull together to help ourselves and each other. Sorry to smash the old cliché down your throat but – it’s okay not to be okay. People ARE there for you and WILL support you, if you allow them in to do so. Here’s another one: check in on your mates. As always, I’m here for all of you, whether you know me personally or not – please reach out to me if you need some help or even just a place to chat.

Love, E x

Why I Came Back To YouTube

pink flatlay muffins coffee cup and pot plant

A long time coming, bruhh.

Attempting to win the war with myself – #OneTwoFreeYourSkin

Girl in orange skirt lying on Brighton pebble beach with a drink

As I get older, the more clarity I seem to have on myself as a person. When each year passes, I know myself a little more and understand what makes me tick, what makes me joyous and what makes me sad. What is it they say? In youth we learn, in old age we understand.

Now, I’m only just 28 so I’m not quite over the hill yet! But what once may have made me sit in my bedroom struck with anxiety, unable to cope, may now become a small blip in my day, before I am able to simply move on. Issues such as friendship woes, career dips, a fight with my partner, or even what I see on the scales at the gym, I now look at through experienced eyes and fix the problem with consideration and tact.

Learning to love my body

Something I’m struggling slightly more with however, is the ability to love my own body and face. I’ve always felt I’m fighting a losing battle against myself. As I’m getting older too, the mirror has seen a lot of action whilst I poke and prod my face, worrying over new fine lines and wondering if I’ve always had that freckle.

I read a brilliant article in the Metro recently, about a girl learning to love herself. She said: “For so long, I pictured my body as temporary and so never made it a home…I didn’t touch it, feed it or love it properly, but focused on how little time I could spend in it.”

This really struck a chord with me and actually made me quite tearful. For so long, I have had this ‘ideal’ me in my head, waiting for the time when I finally become that person. In reality, I’ve been ignoring the person I truly am and missing the beauty of myself completely. I look back at pictures of myself at uni and see how wonderful I looked, although I can recall the struggle it would have taken me to leave the house that day. I wish I could tell her.

Skin communication

Something else I’ve learnt over the last couple of years is how much my body can tell me about how I feel. The bloating I once wrote off as ‘fat’ is now dealt with using a personalised diet plan, because my body wasn’t enjoying what I put into it. My skin, where once a flare-up of eczema on my eyelids, my thighs, my stomach would cause a flash of annoyance, now tells me that I’m super stressed about something. I now take a step back, analyse what might be upsetting me (as I may not have even realised it myself, yet) and then take action.

Of course, dealing with the problem helps, but the skin issue remains for a while. Again, experience comes with age. I used to think that stripping the skin with chems and exposing it to sunlight helped (please don’t – I know). I now have a wide range of products that help me when I’m having a flare-up, and I can usually combat any problem patches before it gets out of control. Something I think that really helps is the focus on good skincare in the media and the absolute transparency many brands have on which ingredients they use and what exactly they do.

Winning the war – eventually

I’m not a full-on lover of myself quite yet, although I’m all for supporting other women in their journeys to self-love. I always try to remember: no one is criticising you more than you are criticising yourself.

These things take time however, and when you’ve thought in a certain way for so long, it can be a hard habit to break. I think becoming more self-aware about the potential to love ourselves is a fantastic step forward – and something I’ll take as a win.

I’m looking forward to seeing what stage I’m at – where we’re ALL at – in another ten years. Fingers crossed we love ourselves completely, eczema and all.

This blog post was written as part of an Epaderm competition. Epaderm® is available online, in-store and on prescription.

TEN YEARS IN LONDON

Pink London phoneboxes

When I was about 8 or 9, we visited my Grandmother in London. I remember looking out across her balcony at the city and saying that one day, I’d live in London. That sounds very romantic, we are talking about Archway here…but I never forgot that, and it’s something I worked towards when studying for exams. I’ve now been in London for ten years. TEN! I’d known this anniversary was coming for a while and wanted to mark it somehow.

On 19th September 2009, I packed pretty much everything I owned and my mum drove me to Clayhill Student Halls in Kingston upon Thames. It was the first time I’d been away from home and I was low-key dreading it. However, I absolutely knew that I wanted to leave my hometown and be independent.

When my mum had left and I’d made my tiny room my own, I sat on the bed and realised that I was truly alone there. I began to panic and worry I’d made the wrong decision, when the door buzzed. It was the girls downstairs inviting me for a drink. And so began my life.

The last ten years have been a bit of a ride for me. Not so much ups and downs but glorious fun interspersed with absolute rock bottom.

I could write my life story, but ain’t nobody got time for that, so here’s a list of some of the notable things that have happened to me over ten years in London.

IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER

  • Got a degree, 2:1 thank you
  • Worked in a bar and two restaurants and met the best and worst of humanity
  • Had two close friends die, far too young
  • A relationship with a man much too old for me
  • Broke my pelvis
  • Lost a best friend through my own stupidity and selfishness
  • Been on countless dates
  • Learned a new language
  • Had two (2) nervous breakdowns
  • Been fired from a job
  • Lived in Dubai for a short while
  • Started this blog!
  • Went to four festivals
  • Broke up (mutually) with my first love
  • Got glandular fever and didn’t get out of bed for a month
  • Rebuilt my relationship with my dad
  • Got two tattoos
  • Lived off £10 per week for two months
  • Met some truly abysmal people – and subsequently realised I can cut people out if they’re toxic
  • Had two long-term relationships
  • Visited ten (10) countries – nowhere near enough!
  • Am still unable to fix my unhealthy relationship with my own body and looks
  • Moved house nine (9) times
  • Began a career in PR
  • Lost contact with too many people to count
  • Made new friends as my life changed
  • Became a Freelance Writer
  • Met my future husband

So, so much has changed and I’m a completely different person to the girl who arrived in London singing Taylor Swift’s 2008 album down the motorway and not knowing what to expect. I still don’t to be honest, but I’ve learned it’s half the fun. At the risk of sounding super wanky, I’m still on my journey, figuring out who I am.

If you’d like me to properly write up anything you found interesting in the above, let me know.

Life is about to change again, with our impending nuptials. Where will we be in another ten years? Let’s wait and see.

What is it about Morrisons?

At the risk of sounding like the most boring person alive, I love doing our weekly food shop. We always plan our meals and heading to Morrisons for our weekly meander around the aisles is one of my favourite things to do with Will.

He’s the trolley-pusher, I’m the list holder and item picker. If they had an Olympics for fastest couple to scan and bag, we’d win. However, I love it not simply because of the cracking deals, but because we’ve had some of our best conversations in Morrisons.

Good and bad, those aisles have seen a fair whack of emotions throughout our relationship. We had our first conversation about moving in together near the crisps. The pasta aisle saw me slam some pesto into the trolley and flounce off ahead because Will had to unexpectedly work that night [and I was just being a wee cow tbh]. Don’t worry, we had made up by the time we got to the bread. World foods saw me have a near-panic attack and shed a few tears over a horrible situation near the start of this year, and confectionary saw us have a debate about the amount of sugar our future children should have(!)

We also talk through our plans for the week, what we’ve got coming up, what’s on our minds and how we feel about things in general. 

There might be some science behind this though. According to WalkCoachLearn: “When we sit down we are often face-to-face. This can produce a sense of confrontation – me versus you. When we walk, we are side-by-side. We are moving together facing the problem and working together to find solutions – us versus the problem.”

Here’s why I think it works

It’s carved out time

We know, no matter how busy our weeks are, that we’ll have at least one, dedicated hour or so in which we are focused on each other and what we each have to say. When we’re running around like crazy all week, it’s something to look forward to.

It lessens the need for eye contact

It can be hard to look someone in the eye when you’re talking about something difficult. Being side-by-side can make you feel more at ease and less under pressure.

We’re working together

It’s food shopping, not rocket science. But it’s a task we’ve done hundreds of times and it’s like a well-oiled machine. We’re a team in smashing out a weekly shop AND understanding each other on a deeper level.

No interruptions

Have ye ever tried to push a trolley when on your phone? It doesn’t work very well. For this time, we are focused only on each other and there’s no TV, phones, or other people [bar the general public – JEEZ] to distract us.

Of course, Morrisons isn’t a holy, fluorescent pilgrimage site for pre-marital conversations. Anywhere you can walk and talk will work – the park is a good one. Additionally, you don’t need to be as far down the relationship path as we are. First dates can be awkward AF and the thought of sitting opposite someone might fill you with dread. Instead, walk through Borough Market or along Southbank to ease the pressure.

Seriously though, next time you need to have a difficult chat or just talk freely – take a walk [or get yerself down to Morrisons].